8/21/17, Lovely Weekend, and bittersweet.

Hi Everyone,

I hope these last days of summer are ending the summer gently for you, with some final fun times before Labor Day closes the summer season, and we head into the ‘full steam ahead’ of September.

I had a very special weekend last week, with ALL of my children, a rare occurrence that only happens about twice a year, on Christmas, and my birthday. I have never liked my birthdays. With a summer birthday, none of my friends were ever around for my birthday as a child, and my childhood birthdays were always somewhat disappointing because of it. For my sixth birthday, my parents sent me away to camp for two months, which I hated, and I’ve just never liked my birthdays. I much prefer celebrating everyone else’s. John, my husband of eighteen years, gave me some wonderful birthdays and birthday parties, and our children have followed his traditions. So I spend my birthday with all my children, every year, usually in seclusion at their country house. And that’s what we did this year, ALL of my children flew in from their various cities, and so did I. It always touches me how much effort they make. They flew in from New York and LA. A wonderful boy we love who lived with us for many years and became part of our family flew in too, and usually does. One of my children flew in from Colorado. They give up a weekend they could spend enjoying their summer closer to where they live, but instead they all come home like homing pigeons to celebrate me. They spend a week at our old country house, which is a very old ranch/farm (built in 1857), where we spent every summer when they were children. They own it now, and it touches me to see how beautifully they take care of it. I leave them to enjoy each other during the week, and join them for my birthday weekend, and they organize meals, and usually one outing to a restaurant. We’re a big group with all 8 of them, and their partners, and after living pretty quietly all year, except for the holidays we spend together, I love the noise, and hustle bustle of all of us living under one roof again and now as adults. We’re together for breakfast, then they go off on walks or to exercise, and we meet late in the morning at the pool, have a big lunch together, lie around all afternoon afterwards, and have big family dinners at night, with good food, wine (for them), and a lot of laughter, singing, talking. Sometimes we play games (dice, and board games, and Scrabble). It is such a happy time for me!!!

The house we share is filled with photographs of them as children everywhere, some with me and my husband, and just seeing those photographs brings back soooo many happy memories, of when they were little. I have to keep my mind set on the present and the future, not to look back with too much nostalgia at all those old happy moments, when they were children. There is a bittersweet quality to that, which I try to resist, and try not to get too sentimental over those days in the past, when we were all so happy together. It’s better to focus on the present, and how good they are to me now just by being there!!!

By the time I left at the end of the weekend, I was filled full up with new happy memories of the weekend with them, and then we went back to my house in the city and spent two more days together. My time with them really is a gift. And I can’t think of a happier way to spend my birthdays.

And at the end of the weekend, in the typical juxtaposition of real life, I had to attend a memorial service for a close friend of my late husband’s. And that really was bittersweet, seeing old friends gathered. Because I was married to men twenty years older than I, many of their friends are quite a bit older, and some have passed away. It was nice seeing many of them at the service I went to. And it was indeed a bittersweet moment, happy to see the friends again, and sad to have lost one of them.

Life. With all its gifts and beautiful moments, good people and happy experiences, tender memories, and losses, and new people we meet. I felt very blessed after my birthday weekend…it takes the sting out of getting another year older!!!

Have a terrific week!!

much love, Danielle

PS: The Icing on the Cake.
As though our lovely family weekend wasn’t enough to celebrate my birthday, the day after I wrote this blog, my children gave me a surprise birthday dinner with all of them, and 4 of my closest friends. It was fantastic, and so much fun. They absolutely stunned me with their surprise. It was a fantastic birthday this year, in every way, thanks to them, and I didn’t suspect for a minute they were giving me a surprise dinner too.
It was the best birthday I’ve ever had!!!
love, D.

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29 Comments so far
  1. Elaine August 21, 2017 2:00 pm

    Hi Danielle,

    I’m glad you had such a wonderful birthday! It sounds like a perfect celebration! Although I only have three children, my happiest days are when all three are here and we can swim and play cards. We’ve played tripolee for years; we each have our favorite colors of poker chips and try to win them from each other. I wish you continued happiness throughout the year.

    Regards, Elaine

  2. Beautiful A August 23, 2017 8:08 am

    Hi Danielle!
    I was reading your wonderful book “The Property of a Noble Woman” and it made me think of this old merchant’s house in New York that I visited this summer. It has been a part of the Lower East Side since 1830s virtually unchanged because only one family lived in it for over 100 years! The last member of the family who never married after her father refused her only suitor because he was a poor medical student, lived alone and died there in the mid 20th century and the house has become a museum. You walk in and it’s like you are transported back in time, to the Gilded Age. Sadly, there’s a new development that is scheduled to take place next door and it will definitely destroy the fragile structure of the house. The museum is holding a benefit this September 20th at 6:30pm, hoping to raise money to stop the builders. I sincerely hope the house will survive and remain standing!!

  3. Beautiful A August 23, 2017 8:09 am

    I was reading your wonderful book “The Property of a Noble Woman” and it made me think of this old merchant’s house in New York that I visited this summer. It has been a part of the Lower East Side since 1830s virtually unchanged because only one family lived in it for over 100 years! The last member of the family who never married after her father refused her only suitor because he was a poor medical student, lived alone and died there in the mid 20th century and the house has become a museum. You walk in and it’s like you are transported back in time, to the Gilded Age. Sadly, there’s a new development that is scheduled to take place next door and it will definitely destroy the fragile structure of the house. The museum is holding a benefit this September 20th at 6:30pm on 29th E 4th Street, hoping to raise money to stop the builders. I sincerely hope the house will survive and remain standing!!

  4. Lorraine August 25, 2017 11:33 am


    How truly fantastic of your children, gathered near and far, to honor you like this! They know what a wonderful mother you are and have always been! I wonder if you have any grandchildren, as I never heard you mention them.



  5. Rhona August 31, 2017 9:33 am

    Im glad you had such a lovely weekend with ur family it means a lot to you and to them having such a wonderful mum x

  6. Rosie August 31, 2017 9:45 am

    Hi Danielle: I have 4 children and 4 Grandchildren, I live away from them, we get together for Thanksgiving and Christmas every year. I’m glad you had a wonderful Birthday with all of your children. I have been reading your books since 1986, have all of them plus your DVD movies based on your books. I will be buying The Right Time today can’t wait to start reading it. Thank you for all the beautiful stories, I feel sometimes when I’m reading them that I’m right there with them. Wish you love and happiness the rest of the year.

    Love, Rosie

  7. betty hanswirth August 31, 2017 9:55 am

    I too have a summer birthday-right around Labor Day. One year my mom made me a birthday party with all of my older sisters friends. Mind you, my sister is 12 years older than I am. I told my mom I did not want any more birthday parties. I did not have another birthday party until my husband made me a surprise 40th, surprise 50th, surprise cruise 60th and surprise 70th. They were definitely worth the wait! Happy, happy birthday, Danielle- May you have as many surprises this year as candles on your cake! ???

  8. María August 31, 2017 10:53 am

    Happy Birthday so happy to hear you had a wonderful birthday god bless you and your family

    PS l love your books.

  9. Sandy Nelson August 31, 2017 10:55 am

    Happy Birthday Danielle!
    I feel like I know you after all the years I’ve bought your books the day they come out but most I “save” to read because I don’t want to finish them because it will mean I’ll have to wait for another. I read them without putting them down into the wee hours! We usually have a little vacay in August and I always save one for that time to read by the beach or pool!
    Glad all your children are with you on your special day!

    (Monroe LA)

  10. Roseanne Malinoski August 31, 2017 10:56 am

    Hi Danielle

    Your books are fabulous. Just received your latest one. I am on the pre order list at Amazon. I know the rest will be arriving as soon as the are released.

    I enjoy your blogs as well as your books. I love celebrating my birthdays with my family . 4 children, 4 in laws and 8 grandchildren. As I get older I feel my Birthday becomes more important and want to have all my family there. So happy you had such a great celebration. May you have many more.

    Keep that pen going and get more books out so we senior citizens can enjoy.

    God Bless and good health and happiness to you.



  11. Caroline Buttigieg August 31, 2017 11:47 am

    Thanks Danielle For sharing Your birthday celebratiobs with us, yoy’re so sweet. I think you had a superb birthday tks to Your great children.❤? The best birthdays are those that haven’t arrived yet (Robert Orben)

  12. Debbi August 31, 2017 12:10 pm

    It sounds like you had a beautiful birthday with your family. I am not big on celebrating my birthday either, but over the past few years as my children have all become adults if that is what brings my children home then I celebrate it with them and having us All together is what I love the most in this world.

  13. Barbara copeland August 31, 2017 12:25 pm

    So glad for you. You must have been a great mother to raise such thoughtful children. I would have expected nothing less. Reading your latest book. Lovin it.

  14. Carole August 31, 2017 12:26 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. Spending time with family is always a special gift indeed. Your story/blog reminds me of your book ‘Sins of a Mother’ – when she takes off with her entire family to celebrate her birthday in a special exotic way.

    Happy belated b’day
    Love reading you – thanks for the wonderful books.

    Suggestion: Try a story about a man/father having difficult times being alone with kids, finances are poor, selective girl friends, furious jealous kids etc. Your stories are more about how women deal with life try turning it around. It will be another best seller I sure


  15. maureen katz August 31, 2017 12:57 pm

    A belated happy birthday and I as well think the best birthdays are with our grandchildren and children and of course husband. I to have a birthday in August but our times spent with family are the most fun. I am an avid reader of your books and read almost all. So be well keep writing and enjoy each day………..
    Maureen Katz PS I usually wait till your books go on sale as they are so expensive, but I love each and everyone.

  16. Sally Wood August 31, 2017 1:27 pm

    I have read every one of your books and your latest book is the best one ever. I can hardly put it down. I have never read your blog before but it was very interesting. Didn’t realize you had such a big family. I admire you so much and hope to read many more books in the future.

  17. Onyx D'Castro-Noack August 31, 2017 1:51 pm

    Dear Ms Steel

    Thank you for sharing your birthday weekend story. It was delightful to read about how your family comes together each year to celebrate your special day. What I found most profound in your birthday anecdote was that you try not to focus too much on nostalgia and are grateful for the present day. I’m a true believer that the present moment is the most important moment. Continue to savour every moment with your loved-ones.


  18. Carol Von Slomski August 31, 2017 1:55 pm

    I am so happy for you. I have 6 children, actually 5 now, my oldest daughter passed away 3 years ago from cancer. But when all my kids are home on Christmas or Thanksgiving, it is a very happy time, better than fine gifts. You are blessed with your writing ability and your family. I have read all your books through out the years and that is what kept me sane with the six kids. My love to you.

  19. Maria Cecelia Lindsay August 31, 2017 5:42 pm

    Oh Danielle! How happy your post has made me! I have only one girl – and she is a miracle – and now 2 grandkids and their really wonderful Daddy whom has become a son to us. They have lived close to us thru the years but 2 yrs ago they had to move away – we are in Santa Cruz and they went up to the foothills near Sacramento… so only 3+ hrs away by car. Not too bad. But each time we get together is a Special Celebration so I know what you mean. Each life is special, each time bittersweet, and time does pass by too swiftly. I am enjoying being a part of my grandchildren’s lives as they mature. How life has changed since we were all little girls! I’ve just finished two of your books – and The Award left me with many deep thoughts & emotions. My parents grew up during those times & I am writing my memories for my daughter & her children as they have no idea what that world look like nor the people who made up those times. We recently finally watched Dunkirk and I sobbed the whole way though. My father was a bomber pilot in the Pacific fight. And seeing all the men with their boats rescuing those they could in Texas now as we write fills my heart with warmth as it did when I was reading The Award. There are so many stories still coming out of how brave souls went about doing what they could, saving one person at a time during WWII. Your books are always so encouraging and I love the history ones the best!! Thank you & God bless you & I wish you many more happy times with your kids. One thing I regret now that my own mother is gone is “Why didn’t I take her more places and do more things with her?” She loved San Francisco and lived there many years. We were only an hour away, but why did we not go there more? She took me to her home only once, back to Sydney, Australia… and I loved it and so did my daughter!! Those are memories of our lives, full of love & fun & special times. Xx’s & Oo”s ~ Maria

  20. Mary Kimball August 31, 2017 7:13 pm

    Dear Danielle,

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful time in your life! You have great children and it’s because you are a wonderful Mom!

    Love your books…keep writing Danielle!

    Love & big hug,

  21. Nora Samargedlis August 31, 2017 8:51 pm

    Happy Birthday Danielle. Wishing you a lovely year! Happy that you shared your special day with all your family.It’s all about Family,Faith& the Love, Happiness you all have together. I have five children. 12 grandchildren they all surprise me for my 70th Birthday!! Friends that I grew up with,when I was young,were there to celebrate with me,& just so many close friends,& family all came.I have three sons,& two daughter& they live very close to one another. We are all grateful& blessed to have each other.I have been a fan of yours for a great many years!! Read all your beautiful books,& enjoyed all of them.Thank you for sharing your many trips you take,& talk about them,& different events.It is just being who you are to everyone that reads your excellent Novels!! My two daughters are Nurses,& in their free time,they have borrow many of your books from me to read.I hope your year is a Celebration of many beautiful & lovely days!! Happy Birthday Danielle!! God Bless!! Nora.

  22. Monica August 31, 2017 9:07 pm

    Happy belated,
    It sounds like you had a wonderful birthday. There’s nothing like spending it with your babies. Because that’s what they will always be your babies. I started reading you about 25 years ago when I was in high school. Then I stopped for a long time my children are now out of the house and I’ve started reading again. Your books are still moving and well written. They always make me wonder about you though. Through your books and next book I’ve read about some of your life. I hope you’re at peace and may God bless you and your family always.

  23. Mary Knapp September 1, 2017 4:49 am

    Hi Danielle,
    I’m glad you had a great birthday and a wonderful time with your children. The best times in my life is when I can spend time with my children and grand children.
    I love reading your books. Can’t wait for the next one. Right now I’m reading The Duchess. I wish you much happiness in the future. Mary

  24. Deborah Vane September 1, 2017 5:29 am

    Life… Sounds like the makings of yet another good book. Thank you ever so much for your talent. Not only are your books entertaining, but have inspired me many times over!! Much love to you & your family ❤ Deb

  25. Janie Winfrey September 1, 2017 5:59 am

    You inspire me everyday with your writings. I read your books as they come out and this posting from your birthday took me back to memories in my life. Thank you, Danielle, for all the moments you have filled my life with precious thoughts.

  26. Dimitris September 1, 2017 9:52 am

    This was such a touching story. Having the whole family around to celebrate special occasions like birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas makes it all worthwhile! Glad that they all made the sacrifice from near and far to be there! Parents deserve it! Take care! Love your books!

  27. Kathryn September 1, 2017 6:10 pm

    Love it…ps make this story into a book.

  28. Debbie Newton September 2, 2017 6:37 pm

    Loved reading about your wonderful birthday it is great to hear of family gatherings like that HAPPY BIRTHDAY (belated) hope you have many more don’t know what I would do without your books my husband has stage 4 bone cancer and he is 75 yrs. old he just went and bought me your new release I loved it! May you be blessed with many more birthday’s! Debbie

  29. Elaine H Shaw September 4, 2017 6:25 am

    Hi Danielle,
    I too spent some time with my children and their families this weekend. Such a joyous time we had celebrating the 8th birthday of Kaylee.(soon to be my granddaughter when My son marries her mom) My family is growing in 2018 with the addition of 3 more children from this marriage. So fun to have them all around me.
    So when you talk of your time spent I can relate to the happy memories you make.
    May God bless you with many more cherished moments to spend with them.
    Yours truly,